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Discovering and deploying local stimulants

The use of indigenous stimulants, which include kola nut, bitter kola and alligator pepper, is beneficial to the body and should therefore be encouraged in 9ja News today findings.

This is the focus of the first International Conference organised by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation (CBAAC) in collaboration with Vertical Inspirations Limited billed to hold in Abuja on July 12 and 13. On the theme ‘Economic potentials and Wealth creation’, the event will also provide insight into how these indigenous stimulants can contribute immensely to economic growth.

The Director General of CBAAC, Tunde Babawale, disclosed the aim of the conference at a press briefing held at the Centre on June 9.

“The objective of the conference is to call attention to the existence of indigenous stimulants, to move these indigenous stimulants to a point where they can become revenue earners for our country and also focus on their medicinal uses to improve the health of our people.” Bemoaning the relegation of the stimulants to the background, Mr Babawale pointed out that the conference will encourage the recognition of indigenous stimulants and create awareness in people about their medicinal benefits.

Babawale further stated that the conference will be a platform for indigenous stimulants to become widely accepted.

“It is our hope that we will continue to organise this programme. We hope it is the beginning of good things to come,” he said.

Former Vice Chancellor of Obafemi Awolowo University and noted traditionalist, Wande Abimbola, who is the executive chairman of the forthcoming conference, also spoke at the briefing. He emphasised the role of intellectuals to point out the benefits of indigenous stimulants through research. He was however quick to add that the intellectuals cannot do it alone without support from the government and private sector.

“We cannot be the only ones who would do the research and implement them,” he said.

Recalling his childhood days when he was surrounded by plantations including that of his father, Mr Abimbola noted that the culture of having plantations where indigenous stimulants are grown is fast becoming extinct.

“We have failed to transform all the legacies of our fathers and mothers into something meaningful and gainful,” he lamented.

According to Mr Abimbola, the production of indigenous stimulants should be encouraged so that the legacies do not die. “We need to find ways to make sure that the forests where these products are grown survive.” Maintaining that the consumption of stimulants like kola nuts is fast gaining ground, Mr Abimbola said, “People chew kola nuts all over the world especially in Africa and in the Middle East.” He nevertheless insisted that there are yet many Africans who do not recognise the importance of such indigenous stimulants.

“Africans in the Diaspora pay more attention to this than those [on the continent],” he noted, citing Brazil as an example.

Only a few Africans truly appreciate the value of their indigenous stimulants and prize them accordingly, Mr Abimbola added. “We do not know how to price our own things adequately,” he observed. He therefore addressed the need for a regulatory board to guide producers of stimulants in pricing their products.

While warning against the consumption of these stimulants in large quantities, Mr Abimbola however assured that “a little bit of [each] is not bad. Even so, these stimulants are highly recommended due to their medicinal and nutritional values,” he asserted.

“When you eat kola nut, it invites you to drink water,” he said, adding that it also satisfies one’s appetite.

The stimulants, he noted, do not only serve medicinal purposes but are also a means of generating wealth.

Since the benefits of indigenous stimulants are numerous, it was also suggested that they should replace the chocolates and sweets that children are so accustomed to taking.

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